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Written Answers - Hospitals Building Programme

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 602.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the exploratory work he has carried out with a view to relocating the national children’s hospital in Mullingar, County Westmeath; if the review group which he set up has visited the town; and if they have held any talks with the local authority in order to advance this project [16591/12]

 656.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he expects the expert group now examining the issue of the location, scale, quality of the proposed children’s hospital is likely to recommend a single or particular locations from which he can then choose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16979/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 602 and 656 together.

I am committed to ensuring the delivery of a world class hospital for the children of Ireland providing the highest quality treatment they deserve. This project is one of the main priorities for the Government and is a commitment under the Programme for Government.

The decision to refuse planning for the new children’s hospital was disappointing. Immediately following the decision I announced my intention to establish a Review Group to consider the decision of An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for the National Paediatric [957]Hospital. The Government has agreed the terms of reference for the Review Group. The terms of reference are as follows:—

“To inform itself about the planning considerations and processes affecting this project.

To consider the different options which now exist for progressing the construction of a national children’s hospital having regard to—

Government policy on the delivery of health services, including accessibility and paediatric services in particular and best clinical practice considerations,

the cost and value for money considerations of the different options,

the likely timelines associated with the different options,

the implementation risks associated with the different options.

To advise the him, in the light of these considerations, on the appropriate next steps to take with a view to ensuring that a national paediatric hospital can be constructed with minimal delay.

To report to the Minister within 56 days of the first meeting of the group.”

The aim of this Review is to consider all the possible options for the earliest possible delivery of a new children’s hospital. The Review Group will present their findings on each of the possible options for my consideration. The Group will not be undertaking a site selection process.

I have appointed Dr Frank Dolphin to Chair the Review Group. There is a wealth of expertise on the group. The membership is composed of senior planners, an architect, the CEO of a major UK Paediatric hospital and senior clinicians in the field of paediatrics. Dr Dolphin is currently in contact with the other Group members and expects to hold the first meeting of the Group within days. I will await the completion of the work of the Review Group and do not wish to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

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